GREENVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) - Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson took on the issue of illegal immigration Monday, drawing loud applause from the crowd when he called for securing the nation's borders.
"Friends, there is a major disconnect between Washington and the people of this country," said Thompson, a former Tennessee senator. "There is no better example than this recent immigration fight. We are a nation of immigrants we all know that we all came from immigrants ... But we now get to decide who comes into our home. We haven't come to terms with the fact that a nation that cannot secure its borders will not remain a sovereign nation."
In this part of South Carolina, illegal immigration is a touchstone issue. South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham has suffered politically with some conservative Republicans for supporting this summer's failed immigration bill.
That political damage has partially extended to Thompson's rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. John McCain, a friend and close ally of Graham in the Senate.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby